Although the Stoics emphasized that all human beings are equal, in that they participate in the universal Logos, they could not deny the fact that wisdom is the possession of only an infinitely small elite. The masses of the people, they acknowledged, are “fools,” in the bondage of desires and fears. While participating in the divine Logos with their essential or rational nature, most human beings are in a state of actual conflict with their own rationality and therefore unable to affirm their essential being courageously. It was impossible for the Stoics to explain this situation which they could not deny. And it was not only the predominance of the “fools” among the masses that they could not explain. Something in the wise men themselves also faced them with a difficult problem. Seneca says that no courage is so great as that which is born of utter desperation. But, one must ask, has the Stoic as a Stoic reached the state of “utter desperation”? Can he reach it in the frame of his philosophy? Or is there something absent in his despair and consequently in his courage? The Stoic as a Stoic does not experience the despair of personal guilt. Epictetus quotes as an example Socrates’ words in Xenophon’s Memorabilia of Socrates: “I have maintained that which is under my control” and “I have never done anything that was wrong in my private or in my public life.” And Epictetus himself asserts that he has learned not to care for anything that is outside the realm of his moral purpose. But more revealing than such statements is the general attitude of superiority and complacency which characterizes the Stoic diatribai, their moral orations and public accusations. The Stoic cannot say, as Hamlet does, that “conscience” makes cowards of us all. He does not see the universal fall from essential rationality to existential foolishness as a matter of responsibility and as a problem of guilt. The courage to be for him is the courage to affirm oneself in spite of fate and death, but it is not the courage to affirm oneself in spite of sin and guilt. It could not have been different: for the courage to face one’s own guilt leads to the question of salvation instead of renunciation.